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Council tax freeze to continue for sixth year in row

Scots will not face any rises in their council tax for the sixth year in a row.

All of Scotland's 32 local authorities have now set their budgets for 2013-14, with councils across the country all agreeing to keep the charge at the same level.

The Scottish Government has offered funds to local authorities since 2007 in return for them freezing their council tax level.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said he was "delighted that council tax payments have been frozen across Scotland for yet another year".

He said: "This demonstrates the strength of the partnership that the Scottish Government established in 2007 with local government continues to deliver benefits for the people of Scotland in the design and delivery of public services in their localities.

"This is excellent news for Scottish communities and householders who, in what remains a challenging financial climate, will see the benefits of a sixth successive council tax freeze fully-funded by the Scottish Government."

The Government's deal with local authorities includes a commitment to maintain teacher numbers in line with the number of pupils and for places to be found for all probationer teachers, allowing them to spend a year in the classroom.

Councils will also receive an additional £23 million from the Scottish Government to help reduce the impact of council tax benefit changes.

Mr Swinney said the SNP administration was working with local authorities to "support council tax benefit reform, welfare reform, and health and social care reform, to continue to help protect the most vulnerable in our society".

The Finance Secretary added: "In the face of the biggest reduction in public spending imposed by Westminster on any Scottish Government, the local government funding package for next year is the best possible outcome and will benefit households across Scotland."

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